By Steve Neumann

The seldom thought of costume design Oscar category hold perhaps one of the most interesting competitions in all categories. Best Costume Design is the 4th youngest category, even though it’s been around since 1948, and is often the spoiler in many Oscar betting pools. This years nominees include two eight-time nominees, two first timers, and one four-time nominee. Recent history shows that the historical pieces have been the big winners. The academy has rewarded these types of films for three straight years.

That would have to make Sandy Powell very happy, sitting with her nomination for The Young Victoria. The costumes in The Young Victoria are exquisite. Watching the film beckons one to get lost in the world of the young Victoria. The careful choices in color, the attention to detail and historical accuracy are what makes Powell such an academy regular as well as a strong contender for this year’s award.

Here are some photos from the film:

Battling Powell for that period costume reign is Janet Patterson for Bright Star. One of two films nominated in this category that are actually about two real life designers. The contrast of these costumes is what really makes this film. The simplicity of dress that Patterson has the Keats character in and showing the complexity of design and willingness to make bold choices by the character of Fanny Brawne are what really add another layer of context into this romantic story. Patterson is looking to bring home her first Oscar in her fourth nomination.

Here are some photos:

Speaking of designers designing for films about designers, say that ten times fast, we have Catherine Leterrier with her first nomination for Coco Before Chanel. Chanel is a name that is recognized world wide for design and Leterrier had her hands full trying to live up to the fame. She obviously succeeded by earning her Oscar nomination. Leterrier made some similar choices to Patterson in using the contrast in costuming to further the story and understanding of the characters. The clothing only helped define the woman that was behind them and Leterrier hopes to do the same.

Here are some photos:

The other first time nominee is Monique Prudhomme for The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Prudhomme is my personal dark horse in this category. The fantasy world has got to be a costumers dream and Prudhomme did a stellar job of taking bold chances and creating a mystery and awe effect in the characters she designed for. With some similarities in the other nominees, this first time nominee could take home the prize. It is truly hard to imagine this film without these beautiful costumes.

Here are some photos:

The last nominee in the category is, my personal favorite designer, Colleen Atwood for Nine. Atwood is a heavy hitter in the category like Powell. The costuming and choices in color are how she was nominated. Nobody knows how to use fishnets like Atwood! The costumes are what made these characters so multi-dimensional. The classic looks, the sexiness, and the small subtleties is what has given Atwood her reputation. Like Powell, this is her eighth nomination and both are also going for their third Oscar. Additionally, this is the fifth time Powell and Atwood have gone head to head. This year could be the ultimate tiebreaker!

Here are some photos:

So who’s going to win you ask? Well, think it’s a three-woman race between Powell, Atwood, and Prudhomme. I think that Powell and Atwood will cancel each other out and open the door for Pruhomme to win. If you’re not willing to take the chance in your Oscar pool then pick Powell. Besides, Atwood will win next year for Alice in Wonderland! You heard it here first.

Road to the Oscars series:

Podcasts – Kit Bowen, Nate Freiberg, Adam Spunberg, and Phil Wallace

February 4: Live Action Short – Kit Bowen

February 5: Animated Short – Kit Bowen

February 8: Documentary Short Subject – Christa Youngpeter

February 9: Documentary Feature – Nate Freiberg

February 10: Foreign Language Film – Paul Popiel

February 12: Animated Film – Nate Freiberg

February 15: Sound Mixing – Jeremy Martin

February 16: Sound Editing – Jeremy Martin

February 17: Original Song – Adam Spunberg and Savanna New

February 18: Visual Effects – Mallory Pickard

February 19: Original Score – Adam Spunberg

February 22: Makeup – Christa Youngpeter

February 23: Costume – Steve Neumann

February 24: Art Direction – Christa Youngpeter

February 25: Film Editing – Steve Neumann

February 26: Cinematography – Paul Popiel

February 27: Original Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

February 28: Adapted Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

March 1: Supporting Actress – Marla Seidell

March 2: Supporting Actor – Phil Wallace

March 3: Actress – Marla Seidell

March 4: Actor – Kit Bowen

March 5: Director – Adam Spunberg

March 5: Picture – Kit Bowen

March 7: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards!